Monday, October 9, 2017

Città di Castello: Ancient Tifernum in the Tiber Valley

Founded by the Umbri tribes, the city has been given many different names throughout the centuries — it was called Tifernum Tiberinum by the Romans, Castrum Felicitates or the 'Town of Happiness' in the Middle Ages and now Città di Castello. Surrounded by majestic 16th century walls, the città is rich in history and art and has a small historic centre that is a delight to explore. Much of the artistic heritage in the town dates from the rule of the Vitelli in the 15th century, with the palaces and churches having a distinctive Tuscan influence, a result of the close bonds between the Vitelli family and the Medici of Florence. Not much is left from Roman days, but there are many outstanding medieval buildings including the Palazzo Comunale, built in the 14th century in the Gothic style and the adjacent Torre Comunale. The Cathedral, dedicated to the two saints Florido and Amanzio, has ancient 11th century origins that has been so re-worked that its appearance is a bit of a jumble. The upper part of the facade is from the Renaissance, the lower from the Baroque period and the Gothic bell tower is from the 13th Century. Città di Castello also lends its name to the famous artist Alberto Burri, an Italian painter and sculptor considered a key figure in Post-War art and such artistic movements as Neo-Dada, Nouveau réalisme, postminimalism and Arte Povera, and is also the hometown of actress Monica Bellucci. 

Piazza Giacomo Matteotti is the heart of Città di Castello

A newsagent on the main square overflowing with Umbrian magazines and newspapers

Friends chatting on Piazza Giacomo Matteotti on a quiet Saturday morning

Small café on Piazza Matteotti 

The Baroque façade of Palazzo del Podestà in Piazza Matteotti dates from 1687, with the clock on the left recording the hour, and that on the right the minutes

Walking towards Piazza Gabriotti on Via del Popolo with the Arch of Palazzo Comunale

The façade of Macelleria Fratelli Giulietti, founded in 1925, with 16th century graffiti called "Doceno"

Fresh Città di Castello pork sausages divided into links with thin string

Owner Luigi Giulietti wrapping up our sausages for dinner tonight

The window and logo of Macelleria Giulietti

Arch of Palazzo Comunale

The 14th century Torre del Vescovo, or Bishop's tower, because it's next to the Bishop's Palace

Dedicated to the city's patron saints Florido and Amanzio, the Cattedrale di Città di Castello was founded in the 6th century, but was renovated again in 1466 after an earthquake, and again in 1529

 Cathedral interior with 18th century ceiling is adorned with 16th and 17th century alter pieces

17th century cupola designed by Nicolò Barbing with frescoes by Tommaso Conca

Cupola fresco detail of St John

The 14th century portal of the Cathedral

12th century Romanesque bell tower of the cathedral

Inscription from 1793 - “Our bones are dried up but put my spirit in you and you will live”

Oxidized orb and cross on the tower spire above the cupola 

Small bakery with fresh made biscotti, cakes and bread 

Around the corner from the bakery we discovered dating from 1910, where they bake all of their breads and pastries

A lady leaves her bicycle as she dashed into the bakery for a Torta di Pere e Amaretti

Main floor of the arcaded 19th century church of San Paolo is now fish and fruit market 
during the week

Fresh clementines, plums, pears and peaches

Truffle shop on Corso Vittorio Emanuele

Batman Exhibition at the Palazzo Bufalino featuring the art over 20 of the Italy's greatest comic artists who have worked on the series over the years

Giardini del Cassero with bronze statue of King Victor Emmanuel II,
who was the first king of a united Italy since the 6th century

View of Città di Castello as we were leaving

Once back at the villa and after a swim, we started to get the fire going in the outdoor pizza oven 
for our dinner courtesy of Luigi at Macelleria Giulietti

The wood fired pizza oven ready for our sausages from Città di Castello

Grilling the sausages over the hot embers of the outdoor wood fired oven

Molto gusto!

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